P5K-E WiFi/AP has “only” one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by a Marvell 88E8056 chip, which is connected to the south bridge chip through a PCI Express x1 bus. We say “only” because almost all top motherboards have two Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The most different feature present on this motherboard is its 802.11g/b WiFi access point, which is based on a Realtek RTL8187L chip. An integrated access point allows you to share your broadband internet connection (and also files and printers) wirelessly with other computers around your office or home without the need of a wireless broadband router, so you can save some bucks (even though the cost of this access point is embedded on the motherboard cost, of course). Of course your other computers will need a wireless network card installed.
IEEE 802.11g specification allows networks running up to 54 Mbps, if you also have IEEE 802.11g cards on your other computers. If you don’t, the on-board access point will work at 802.11b, with a maximum transfer rate of 11 Mbps. Of course your internet speed will be limited by your broadband connection: if you have a 2 Mbps connection that will be the maximum transfer rate you will get on the internet. The 54 Mbps or 11 Mbps transfer rates will only be available for local file transfers – i.e., for transferring files from one computer to another. With more and more digital contents like movies being produced and saved on hard disk drives, the higher your network speed the better for transferring files between computers. Even though if you are really worried about speed you will probably build a cabled network using a Gigabit switch in order to achieve 1,000 Mbps when transferring files between your computers.
P5K-E WiFi/AP comes with one omini-directional antenna, as you can see in Figure 4. According to ASUS the operating ranges for its on-board access point are the following:
- IEEE 802.11g: 200 ft (60 m) outdoor or 100 ft (30 m) indoor.
- IEEE 802.11b: 1000 ft (310 m) outdoor or 130 ft (40 m) indoor.
As you can see on Figures 1 and 5, this motherboard uses a passive heatsink solution, which is particularly indicated to users that are annoyed with the amount of noise produced by a typical PC (since this motherboard doesn’t have a fan on top of the chipset heatsink, less noise is produced by the PC).
This motherboard also uses only solid aluminum capacitors, which is great in order to prevent the infamous capacitor leakage problem. The coils from the voltage regulator circuit are regular iron coils instead of ferrite coils. High-end motherboards are start using ferrite coils, which provide a lower power loss.
In Figure 6, you can see all cables, connectors and manuals that come with this motherboard. This motherboard features Q-Connector, which facilitate the installation of the wires coming from the frontal panel of your case.